Improving the carbon footprint of water treatment with renewable energy: a Western Australian case study
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A life cycle assessment (LCA) was carried out on three separate drinking water production options—a groundwater treatment plant (GWTP), surface water treatment plant and seawater desalination plant (electrodialysis) in order to calculate the carbon footprint associated with each process and to identify the areas of production with high levels of GHG emissions in order to develop strategies for reducing their carbon footprint. The results obtained from the LCA show that the highest GHG emissions are from the seawater desalination plant via electrodialysis (ED) where the GHG emissions were 2.46 kg CO2 equivalent (eq). By comparison, the GWTP has the lowest carbon footprint emitting some 0.38 kg CO2 eq for water delivery to households. The GHG emission contribution of electricity generation for the GWTP, surface water treatment plant and seawater ED plants was 95, 82 and 98 %, respectively. Furthermore, the GHG emissions associated with this production process can be further reduced by including renewable energy power generation in its operations.
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